On this day in February 2007 we came across the female leopard up in an acacia tree. Normally I do not see leopards in trees where the first branch is so high up. We sat and waited for a few hours for the scene to transpire. We were simply waiting for her to jump down out of the tree for a change of scenery.
As we were waiting for her to move, I switched into instructional mode to guide my 2 photographers who were in the Land Rover with me. I gave some background information on leopard behavior, and what would make an interesting photograph. Once you have a tight shot on a leopard in a tree, I like to zoom out with a shorter focal length, telling the story of the leopard in its environment. With a shorter focal length, you can grab a shot of the cat coming out of the tree, leaping onto the ground beneath. If you have too much lens, you can easily miss your shot and have half of your subject in your frame and half out. Better to crop later than to miss your shot entirely.
As she started to move from her perch up above, we all started capturing our images. Well stupid me. I was more interested in having a large file size from my 1DsMkII (16mp) than anything else. As you can image, my buffer filled up on my camera and I missed most of the action of her jumping out of the tree. The shot below is my last image captured before she hit the ground and left the area. Lesson learned, don't you think? I was very excited that the two guests I had in the vehicle with me had absolutely stunning images of the entire jumping sequence. I am always extremely happy when I see the excitement on faces after a rich photographic opportunity was seized!!